Air Pollution Increases at Pennsylvania’s Natural Gas Sites

NPR: State Impact PA

By Susan Phillips

April 20, 2015

Sulfur dioxide emissions jumped 57 percent from 2012 to 2013 at the state’s natural gas production sites, according to data released today by the Department of Environmental Protection. Sulfur dioxide contributes to acid rain, and causes respiratory problems including asthma.  Other air pollutants that contribute to public health impacts also increased. These jumps in emissions coincide with the number of well sites reporting.

Acting DEP Secretary John Quigley said in a press release that the results were not a surprise.

“The industry is growing,” said Quigley. “And each year we are expanding the types and number of facilities from which we collect data so that we have a more comprehensive understanding of air quality issues.”

Quigley says overall the state’s air quality is improving, despite the increased emissions from the natural gas sector.

The 2013 shale gas emissions inventories include a jump of 19 percent for volatile organic compounds (VOC’s), 12 percent for particulate matter, and 8 percent for nitrogen oxides. VOC’s can cause a whole host of symptoms, including eye, nose and throat irritations; and headaches, nausea and liver and kidney damage...Read more here

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